Socialist Worker

Round-up: Serco Sandwell, Weetabix, G4S, Alpha, Skanska victimisation, and more

Issue No. 2772

Striking at Serco Sandwell in August

Striking at Serco Sandwell in August (Pic: GMB Sandwell)

Rubbish conditions spark Sandwell strike

Refuse workers at Serco Sandwell in the West Midlands are continuing their battle against a management culture of bullying and harassment.

Workers voted to strike in July. Up to 70 workers have joined picket lines.

The GMB union has accused Sandwell council of ignoring workers and failing to show solidarity.


End division at Weetabix

Members of the Usdaw union working at Weetabix have settled their pay dispute, as 82 percent of members voted to accept a new offer on pay.

Weetabix has reinstated the 27.5 percent shift pay premium for them.

Meanwhile, Unite union members will begin a series of 48-hour strikes on Tuesday next week.

This will be followed by strikes on the same day every week until the end of November.

The workers at factories in Kettering and Corby in Northamptonshire are facing changes to their shifts and working patterns that could leave them £5,000 a year worse off.

Workers from across the factories should come together to put pressure on bosses to win their demands together rather than being divided on union lines.


Workers should stop cash going out—and cash in

GMB union members working for G4S cash services are voting in a strike ballot after the company made a zero percent pay offer. 

If the 1,400 workers walk out they would hit cash machines and other financial services.

G4S, now owned by Allied Universal, would face strikes at a time of severe labour shortages across the industry.

Time to cash in.


Alpha pay and pension battle

Some 150 factory workers are being balloted for strikes at Alpla UK’s Golborne factory over a 2 percent pay offer.

The Unite union members also warn the company to fulfil its pledge made in 2020 to increase employer pension contributions.

Alpla UK makes plastic bottles and containers for major brands including PZ Cussons, Johnson & Johnson, Lever, Britvic, Coca Cola, Arla Foods and others.


Vote for councils pay fight in Scotland

Council workers in Scotland are in the final week of a ballot for strikes over pay.

The Unison union is balloting its members who work in waste and recycling services, school cleaning, catering, and janitorial services.

It comes after members rejected a pay offer from bosses’ organisation Cosla that included a flat rise of £800 for those earning less than £25,000—some 55 percent of local government workers.

In response, bosses changed their offer to £850—just 97p more per week.

The ballot was set to end on Wednesday of next week.

Workers have to campaign for big Yes vote for strikes—then demand that leaders call action immediately, and ensure those sections on strike aren’t isolated.


Stop Skanska victimisation

Kevin Macken, an electrician and Unite union rep, took construction giant Skanska to an employment tribunal last week.

He says he was sacked after he made complaints about safety on Skanska’s projects, including HS2 and Crossrail.

Kevin said before giving evidence to the tribunal, “I was the longest surviving safety rep on Crossrail. The catalogue of evidence I’ve acquired is extensive and very damaging.

“I was targeted by Skanska for unfair redundancy due to my health and safety work.”

Skanska has previously admitted that it checked over 66,000 workers against a construction industry blacklist in four years.

In one year it spent over £28,000 checking workers.


Strike vote at Royal College of Art

Workers at the Royal College of Art (RCA) have voted to strike over casualisation that is rampant at the university.

The members of the UCU union returned a ballot of 83 percent in favour of strikes on a 63 percent turnout.

Workers are demanding that the RCA management agrees proper contracts for casual staff and also to protect the terms and conditions of permanent staff.

Donate to the strike fund here


Ocado bosses don’t deliver

Drivers for grocery delivery company Ocado plan to strike over pay and conditions.

Workers, who are newly employed by Ocado Zoom, which is outsourced to Ocado delivery partner Ryde, found their pay cut by more than 50 percent in July.

Faizan Babar, who works as a courier for Ocado, said he had been forced to work six or seven days a week to support his family but is still struggling to pay bills.

“We worked through lockdown even though I fall in a high risk category I have colleagues who got ill, and lost their loved ones” he added.

Workers are demanding £16 an hour, trade union recognition for their chosen IWGB union, and to be brought in-house.

 


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